China's Defense Ministry has expressed strong opposition to the United States Congress passing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which facilitates military exchanges between the US and Taiwan.
Clauses in the Act would enable senior military official exchanges, grant Taiwan observer status in maritime military exercises, and justify arms sales to Taiwan, according to the Congress. It is the first time such clauses have been included in the Authorization Act.
In a statement released on Friday, China's Defense Ministry spokesman, Yang Yujun, said that the US Congress had disregarded the bigger picture of Sino-US relations by passing the act, and China reserved the right to take further measures.
"The Taiwan question is related to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and it involves China's core interests," Yang said.
He added that China resolutely opposed the US undertaking any form of formal exchanges or military interaction, as well as arm sales, with Taiwan.
"These stances have been made consistently and clearly."
Yet Congress has departed from history, and pushed for US and Taiwan military exchanges, Yang said.
The move has interfered with China's internal affairs, disrupted stability in the Taiwan Straits, damaged China's sovereignty and security interests, and would ultimately hurt the US's own interest, he warned.
In 1999, the US Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000, limiting China-US military interactions in 12 fields and creating artificial legal obstacles for the two militaries' relationship.
Now, the US Congress has again proposed facilitating interactions between senior military officers and civil servants from the US and Taiwan, Yang said.
"This has demonstrated the stubborn Cold-War and zero sum mentality in some members of the US Congress."
China urges the US to clearly recognize the situation and take immediate and effective measures to correct the mistakes in order to prevent further damage to the China-US military relationship, he said.
"We must emphasize that the scheme of Taiwan separatists using foreign powers to undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity will fail," Yang said.
"The effort will only strengthen China's military determination in stopping separatists, and pushing for the country's unification with stronger resolve, confidence and capability."